Client: Ache Guayaki Tribe
IP Need: Trademark Protection of Tribal Name
Background: Yerba mate is a traditional drink of subtropical South America. Its roots can be traced back to the region's pre-Columbian peoples. Yerba mate is the national drink of most of these countries, and its preparation and consumption rituals are unmistakably intertwined with hospitality and friendship. One of the indigenous populations that has been growing yerba mate for centuries is Uruguay's Ache Guayaki tribe.
IP Issue: A fair trade company eager to bring yerba mate to the U.S. named itself Guayaki Sustainable Rainforest Products (GSRP) after the Ache Guayaki, but without the tribe's permission.
Light Years IP, who assisted GSRP and the Ache Guayaki community in forming a business relationship based on fair terms. Light Years IP proposed that GSRP pay the Ache community a license fee for the use of their tribal name. The license enables the Guayaki tribe to control ownership of its name as well as to profit from its commercial use in export markets.
Result: This case shows that the benefits of IP management and know-how do not have to derive from producing a product directly. The Ache Guayaki tribe neither produces nor exports GSRP's products. Yet today, the Ache Guayaki community receives long-term licensing income from the commercial use of their tribal name".
Yerba mate here
Coffee mate here
Beer mate here